Living Simply, what that looks like for me

Read a blog post tonight that asked the question:

What does living simply mean to me?

I have written on this topic before.    A guest recently told me things were too quiet on the farm.  I wanted to say that was not an accident.

The pace of  my life  (now) and what I involve  myself with is very intentional.

That has not always been the case…..

I want to take you back to the Winter of 1987-1988.  We were living in Northern New Jersey, 1000 miles from home. I’d gone back to school to take some classes in marriage and family counseling.  Three kids in tow.  I was also working a full-time job, involved 2 nights a week in youth outreach and another evening devoted to a couples small group.  Weekends were no better.  They were packed with meetings, outreach, and service projects.

And then….

things started to unravel at home.

Here is a picture I had taped to the wall in front of my desk. It was to remind me that I can be busy…going nowhere fast:

Hamster wheel

It was a painful, watershed season in my life.  The pressures were intense.

I was confused and angry.

(I’ve had  harder times since but that is for another day/ another story).  😉

Years later,  one of our kids was diagnosed with panic attacks.  We came across the book, The Anxiety Cure that addressed many of the root causes that had gotten me so far off course in those early years.

Here is an excerpt from the book:


“We are all on the same train…You can’t turn back the clock to simpler times- although I confess, this is a wonderful fantasy that I occasionally indulge as a form of escape.  I frequently reflect on the many happy childhood times I had with my grandparents.  They lived a simple, country life.  They were totally self-sufficient, tilling a small piece of land and raising their own food.  They saved wisely for their retirement and spent little money during the bleak years of the Second World War.  With only a a shortwave radio to connect them to the rest of the world, life seemed simple yet luxurious to me as a child.  There was a sense of unhurriedness and simple pleasures.  All the money in the world couldn’t buy such luxury in today’s world. 

It is not for sale; you have to create it….

(Did you catch that?  You have (and can)  create it. DM)

Frankly, thought, seeking to live a balanced life is like trying to find your way through a dangerous minefield.  The way to survival is narrow and must be charted with care if you are going to come out the end intact.  You need to understand all the dangers and have clearly worked out strategies for avoiding disaster….

      From the book Anxiety Cure by Archibald D. Hart

For us, the course to a simpler life did mean moving to the country.  (You don’t have to own, btw, we rented initially, and were fully prepared to rent instead of own if we had to)

Slowing down the pace of our lives,  intentionally choosing to  live with less.

I rarely (never?) watch network TV and its cursed  “news cycle.”

I have lived long enough  to notice patterns in how news is marketed on a national level. It is much more manipulative than I ever realized growing up.  I refuse to let some nameless media exec  manipulate my emotions.

There’s more I could tell you but the coffee is ready, got to go. 😉

Later!  DM


An hour later… I am not saying that a person has to live in the country to live a simple life, because that is not an option for everybody. Living in the country does not automatically translates into simplicity.  What I am saying is this:  In 1987 after coming to the end of myself, I took the time to identify  some long range goals  based on my personal interests and desires, with the eye to living a more balanced life.  Part of what that looked like for me included “having a home in the countryside with animals and “growing things.”

Here I sit 27 years later and will tell you I was right.  The end.









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8 Responses to Living Simply, what that looks like for me

  1. shoreacres says:

    I think you notice the “news” being more manipulative because it is. Even the weather reports are designed to increase viewership with over-the-top hype. I’m very selective about where I get my news, and none of it is from television or radio.

    To be quite frank, the book you’ve quoted seems to me to be afflicted with some of the same tendency toward hype. Simplicity of life — or at least a movement toward a desired simplicity — is available to all of us. What we lack isn’t the opportunity to simplify, it’s the will to do so. And really – it isn’t that hard.

    Nothing cracks me up more than listening to my friends complain about how much time they spend on social media, how demanding their phones are, how noisy their world is. Granted, there are certain realities that parents with children in school or employment in a more structured environment can’t escape, particularly when it comes to technology. But there are things that can be done by anyone, in any environment. Allow for more silence. Stop shopping ’til you drop. Set aside the iGadgets at meal time and talk to one another. And so on.

    It’s the old problem of knowlege and will. We know what a more simple — more satisfying — life looks like and feels like. The big question is, do we have the will to make the decisions that will bring it into being?

    My goodness. My caffeine level must be a little high this morning!
    I’m curious…where do you get your news? DM

  2. emjayandthem says:

    I relate to this b/c we went through a similar realization on the corporate track in Houston years ago – and after a workshop led me to several “ahas” which included the desire to live in the 4 seasons again, have a screen door and a dog – the train of change began to leave the station. We packed up and moved. Sometimes the biggest challenge isn’t the “doing” of it, it’s the figuring out what exactly needs to be un”done” … 🙂 MJ
    I love your story! What was the workshop you attended that helped you re-chart your course? DM

  3. micey says:

    Ah the coffee. There’s always time for coffee. 😊
    And than you for the starbucks you shared w/ me! DM

  4. Interesting. I used to watch tv/news every morning prior to work (before kids). Now I am lucky to turn on the news to watch it and sometimes lucky to catch what is going on in the world outside. Logan has gotten into a kick lately to turn on the tv and completely zone out. Something we try to steer him clear of and outside we go or onto a project.
    You are not alone….when we had young ones in the house, it was all we could do to stay on top of those responsibilities…we sometimes joke about the fact all of the 1980’s and a good portion of the 1990’s are a complete blurr…(and blank) have no idea which movies and sitcoms came out during that time span. it’s like there is a 15 year gap in both of our memories in terms of what was going on in the culture. DM

  5. Life is much simpler and harder for us at the same time out in the country. I say harder because others would think it was harder, but for us it’s no big deal and logical. What? No garbage disposal? Not yet. We can use the colander and throw it over the fence. Dinner is later now around 8:00 marked by the sun about to set. In the city we ate around 6:30 because the clock said so. We hardly watch television favoring sitting on the back porch or completing a project or chore. Why do we have TV…it comes with the internet package. That we have to have. I’d better stop because I think I just might write a post.
    Sounds like you made a very good decision back in the day.
    thanks Georgette!. I think you should write a blog post 😉 DM

  6. Billy says:

    We know what simplicity looks like, sounds like, and yes, even tastes like. The question is, how many people have the confidence and determination to seek it out. I tell my family all the time, “see the life you desire and work toward making it happen”. It sounds like you did just that, DM, good on you!
    Thanks Billy for the affirmation and taking the time to let me know you are still reading along 😉 DM

  7. Eumaeus says:

    yep. it is all mental state. lots of folks who live on farms are building for happiness. they’re working towards simplicity. they’re striving for peace. i’m the same way sometimes. but i’m getting better about remembering that the striving for is illusion. it is all mental. peace, simplicity, happiness are all available when we stop striving.
    Good reminder Eumaeus. All of us tend to take our issues with us. DM

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